As a working mom, I often worry if I am not being the best mom, employee, or spouse I could be. It is hard to find balance between work and home life, especially if you work from home! I regularly wonder if I am being present enough for my child, or does he notice me checking my email every few minutes. Am I being the best employee I can be, or trying to do too many things at once? Is my house clean enough, meals good enough, and is my husband happy with our relationship? Does anyone else ever feel this way?
More and more women I know are re-entering the workforce after having children. In the past generations it was almost unheard of. Many women stayed home with the children and men went to work to provide for the family. At my day job as a Registered Dental Hygienist, I have on several occasions had patients say, “I just don’t know how you do it, leaving that baby to come here.” But, this is a different generation. A generation of student loans and sky-high mortgages, and also the generation that allows us as women to work! We have that choice and it is such a wonderful thing! I know so many women that do not want to stay home with their children full-time. They enjoy being at work and socializing with other adults and we are so lucky that this is accepted!
So, whether you work out of necessity, the desire for some adult time, because you love your career, or you’re trying to grow your own business, finding the balance between work and home life is an ever important task. I currently work outside the home three days per week. On top of that I manage several bookkeeping clients from home as well as run a blog and the hopes to start a small side business in the near future. It is a lot! I feel like my brain is always in a million different places with never-ending tasks, ideas, and goals. But, I love it all and the ability to work part-time at a career I have worked hard at while still bringing in some income on the side from home. The flexibility allowing me to spend more time with my son.
I will say, getting work done from home is more difficult than I ever imagined. Interruptions from my son, schedules that are constantly changing, the desire to play with him and spend every possible moment with him, it is hard! Some days he wakes up at 5 and I get nothing accomplished before he is up for the day, others he sleeps in until 7 and I am able to knock out several blog posts, all my bookkeeping work, and a workout! It is always changing. Life with a toddler!
That being said, I have over the past 15 months managed to make working outside the home and from home possible, all while being a present mother and know that you can too! Here are some of my best tips to allow you the freedom, flexibility, and peace of mind!
SCHEDULES ARE LIFE.
Planning out every project, deadline, and idea I have for the coming weeks or months is so important. My husband and I both like to have a social life. Knowing ahead of time if he will be golfing over the weekend or at a work event after work allows me to plan out my work schedules more efficiently. Our son is too young for sports and extracurriculars, but I know that day is coming and schedules will be even more important then!
FIND YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.
For me, I am a morning person. Currently, I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning. Knowing that my son could be up at any moment gives me the added push to be productive, rather than scrolling through social media and putsing around the house. Maybe you are a night owl and would rather stay up late to get work done, that’s great! Enlist your spouse to put the kids to bed, eat a quick dinner, and break out that computer for a few hours of work!
ASK FOR HELP.
Maybe you have a regular babysitter or family member you can call on for a few hours per week so you can get some things done. It could be work related or something for yourself like your hair, nails, or coffee with a girlfriend. For a long time I felt extreme guilt when I wanted space from my family to just be me. I felt like that made me a bad mother. I was already away from home 30 hours per week for work, why did I need more time? But, it doesn’t! It makes you human. We all need space and time for ourselves, you are still a woman before you are a mother.
I was never really into a day spent menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal prepping until I returned to work after my maternity leave. The first few weeks back we just winged it in the kitchen. That meant we ate a lot of frozen pizza, takeout, and ice cream for dinner. To say we were feeling sluggish and not our best is an understatement. Eating well is imperative to your performance, and sets a good example for your kids! So, a day spent meal planning and prepping allows for more time during the week to get things accomplished and almost always ensures you’ll have healthy, energizing foods waiting for you after a long busy day.
IF YOUR KIDS ARE OLD ENOUGH, YOU CAN EVEN HAVE THEM HELP IN THE KITCHEN!
Ask them what they want for lunches and dinners that week. Have them help by picking out the fruits and snacks for their lunch boxes or making their own sandwiches! This is something my own mom always did. It allowed us as kids some freedom to make our own choices, which we loved, and helped her by freeing up some time. Our son isn’t quite there yet but we do hit the grocery store as a family almost every Sunday, enjoying breakfast at Whole Foods and then completing our shopping.
TV AND SCREEN TIME.
I know, these are huge no no’s for a lot of families and I hear that. I don’t love when my son watches TV either but, I know that when I am cramming to meet a deadline an episode of Mickey Mouse can buy me 30 minutes of peace and quiet and it won’t kill ’em. I’m not saying plop your kids down for days on end in front of the TV but everything is okay in moderation.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.
It is impossible to do it all sometimes. Maybe the baby is sick or not sleeping through the night. Our son didn’t until he was one. Yes, one. I was a walking zombie for months! But some weeks, you just need that extra nap or five more cups of coffee to get you through the day. Or maybe you need to order takeout so you can meet a deadline that is looming. Whatever it is, go with it.
Being a working mom is never easy, but it is something you can learn to manage with a little less stress. It sets a great example for your kids seeing you go out and support your family every day, and allows you some freedom in your life to socialize and be yourself, not just mom! No matter what though, you are doing a great job!
MEET THE AUTHOR!
Hi, I’m Annie! A working mom living in the Boston area and writing about our day-to-day lives over at LifeasAnnieP. I love to share stories about our wild and rambunctious toddler, recipes, fashion and beauty favorites!